Premiership final: Leicester Tigers can show how far they’ve come, says Jasper Wiese
|Venue: Twickenham Stadium Date: Saturday, 18 June. Kick-off: 15:00 BST Coverage: Updates on BBC local radio and live scores on the BBC Sport website|
Saturday’s Premiership final is Leicester’s chance to showcase their transformation back into an English rugby force, says Tigers’ Jasper Wiese.
The club feature in their first final for nine years against Saracens, whose relegation for salary cap breaches saved Leicester from the drop in 2020.
Leicester contest the English game’s domestic showpiece at Twickenham after a five-year play-off absence.
“It’s an opportunity to show how far we have come,” said back row Wiese.
“And that’s not by just saying we have played in a final, but to actually go and hopefully win it. I think the hard work has been done.”
For the Springbok, the work demanded of the hard-running number eight has been around his poor disciplinary record, as repeated issues with tackle heights made the 26-year-old a liability.
He was twice yellow-carded and dismissed on another occasion early on in his time with Tigers last term.
He was sin-binned three times in seven games at the start of this season, but has gone 17 games in all competitions without punishment since his last yellow card against Bristol on 26 December.
“If you do something like that and give away a penalty or card then you are not just affecting yourself, but also affecting your team,” he told BBC Radio Leicester.
“That was pretty easy to see. If I didn’t work on it, then I would be influencing the team in a negative way.
“It’s something I have to continue working on. It’s after all the coaches working with me; Steve [Borthwick] and Aled [Walters] hammering it on me every week, Kev [Sinfield] as well. Your tackle height and your clean-out height, use your arms, wrap.
“So when you continue doing that, and hearing it a lot, then it’s brilliant, because then when you’re under fatigue you sort of remain alert on what you have to do. Again, I can’t take any credit for that, because it’s all the people around me working and helping me with that every week.”
Wiese moved to Welford Road at the start of the 2020-21 campaign and has spoken about how he avoided “the dark times” at Leicester, which saw them finish second from bottom in successive seasons before his arrival.
His first season in the East Midlands coincided with Borthwick’s first full campaign as Tigers head coach and a sixth-placed finish in the league.
Wiese says it has been “easy to fall in love” with Leicester when more than 20,000 supporters have packed into Welford Road this season as the Tigers set a Premiership record as the first club to top the league at the end of every round.
“I 100% believe in the team and everyone here,” said Wiese. “It’s a matter of how we approach it and how hard we play on Saturday.
“If we play hard enough then results will speak for themselves.”